Mental health disorders in children are more common today than ever before. Parents need to be informed about what a mental health disorder is, who it effects and how it can be treated. Our child counselors are here to help you wade through the information and misconceptions out there and answer all your questions.
What is a mental health disorder?
Mental health disorders can be defined as a behaviour that negatively impacts a person’s ability to function to the same extent as their peers. When we apply this to a child or teen we can see that a broad range of behaviours may fall under this umbrella definition and it’s important to keep in mind the severity of the behaviour. A child who gets angry does not have disordered behaviour, but a child who reacts to most situations with anger and is losing friends and falling behind in school because of it might. A child who is shy would not fit the definition, but a child who is socially withdrawn and experiences anxiety when faced with having to go out might.
Who is most at risk of suffering from a mental health issue?
Just like with any other health concern there is no equation that tells us who will or will not be susceptible to suffering from a mental health issue in their lifetime. There are a few factors, though, that can increase the odds:
- Family history of a mental health diagnosis
- Environmental factors, such as trauma (either physical or emotional), stress or significant changes
- Lifestyle choices, such as substance use
How can I help my child or teen if I suspect they have a mental health disorder?
The best outcomes for children or teens who are exhibiting the signs of a disorder is to seek treatment for them as soon as possible. Talking to a child counselor who has been trained in spotting the signs of illness and have the experience of working with different types of disorders can be your best source of information and support. They will talk you through the next steps and help create a plan to change the negative behavior.
Call our office today at 540-322-5424 for more information and to set up an appointment.